Events /

Sensory-Friendly Activities and DSCC at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield


Saturday, August 12, 2023 - Sunday, August 13, 2023    
9:00 am - 12:00 pm


Illinois State Fairgrounds
801 E. Sangamon Ave., Springfield, Illinois, 62702

Event Type

The 2023 Illinois State Fair will offer free entertainment, activities and a dedicated quiet zone for individuals with sensory-processing disorders

The Illinois State Fair is hosting “Sunflower Hours” on Aug. 12 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

During Sunflower Hours, individuals with autism, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other sensory-processing disorders can experience a range of activities in a softer, more calming environment.

Various stages will offer fun, family-friendly programming – the same entertainment offered all 11 days of the fair – but without large sound systems and loud music.

Activities will include:

  • Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show
  • Select amusement rides
  • Character meet & greets
  • An AmTryke Presentation and more

Sunflower Hours’ activities are free and included in the cost of admission to the fair.

A Sensory Station will also be available in the Emmerson Building throughout the Fair for individuals and families. This dedicated quiet zone will have trained volunteers who can help with:

  • Weighted blankets
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Calming pods
  • Quiet activities for children and adults who need help processing the sights, smells, noises and crowds at the fair

The Sensory Station will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can see the schedule of Sunflower Hours activities and a map of the sensory-friendly zones.

You can also print a copy of the Illinois State Fair Social Story to help plan your visit.

The Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) will also be a part of this year’s fair.

We will have a tent in  Conservation World, which is located in the northwest corner of the fairgrounds, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 11-13.

We’ll have coloring activities, including stickers for kids to personalize. Kids and adults can also play our bean bag toss game for a chance to win prizes.

We’ll also have a wealth of information about how DSCC can partner with your family to support your child with special healthcare needs.

Please stop by and say hello to our staff and learn more about how we help families!